Category: crisis


“What the devil made for evil, God intended for good!” Genesis 50:20.

What do you do when your world falls apart?

How do you survive, overcome, and then recover the mandate that God has placed in your heart?

The call of God is a powerful thing.  No matter what you’ve gone through, God’s call never leaves.  It’s “His mandate” for your life.  You may make mistake after mistake and just like David in scripture, you may have disappointment after disappointment.  Grappling, scraping and crawling his way out of difficultly, sin and misjudgement, he has some key ingredients that we can learn from.

The call of God is that inner drive that doesn’t let up.  There’s nothing else that satisfies unless you are fulfilling that call.  It’s an insatiable desire to serve God in the capacity He has given you.

The enemy is constant in his pursuit of destroying your God given mandate.  The bible says, “When the enemy comes in like a flood God will raise up a standard.”  God will turn around the temporary derailment of your life and make what seemed to be a spent force into a fruitful tree again.  He restores what was taken and then doubles, triples and multiplies!  He increases what was so-called lost and breathes life into dead, lifeless bones.

I heard a phrase which encapsulates what I want to say: “Purpose driven to presence driven.”  This is a beautiful key in recovery.

No longer being driven by worldly ambition or success, but pursuing God and His mandate in a dependent, reliant way and at peace and rest in a God honouring way.

These kind of people are people who hunger and thirst for God’s presence.  A people who desire, hide and abide in that secret place (where the voice of God could be heard and His shekinah glory manifest).  The psalmist described it this way “dwelling under the shadow of the almighty” (no struggling, no striving).

These people are saints of God who taste the awe inspiring presence of God.  This type of person develops a NEW hunger for spiritual things and their spiritual taste buds begin to change.  These people arise from the oppression of pain and brokenness to become a person who prepares themselves for entering into God’s presence.  Hebrews 10:19 talks about “Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”.  Peter 2:5-9 “come into His Holiest by having cleansed and washed our souls and spirits in Jesus blood.”  God promises to wash us, cleanse us, speak to us, direct us and then He continues to draw us back to His original mandate for our lives.

The call that never leaves, that is relentless, constantly knocking on our door to get up and get back to that purpose and destiny.  That’s the mandate of God!

Sincere worship delights the heart of God.  As we worship, God promises the release of joy (Ps 16:11), strength (1 Chron 16:27), power (Ish40:29), liberty (2 Cor 3:17), transformation (2 Cor 3:18), refreshing (Acts 3:19) and boldness (Acts 4:13)

My encouragement to those who may have lost their way is “Stay on the bus!”  Get back to God’s purpose for your life, one day at a time.  As the old song goes, “Live for Jesus, that’s what matters.” Take your mistakes, disappointments, misjudgments, perceptions, and persecutions and turn them back to God’s plan and mandate for your life.  Keep the main thing the main thing.  Love and serve Jesus with all your heart then you will walk in His perfect plan again.

Ted EvansPsalm 139:14

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

2 Corinthians 4:18

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

I have been known to God since before my conception!  The same with you!

Every one of my days has been accounted for and seen by God – He knows me and has known me.

He created me – fearfully and wonderfully, to become glorious for Him.

The things in our lives, people, places, encounters with God and circumstances shape us.  Ultimately, though, who we are was determined before we were born.

There have been many situations, ups and downs , hurts and joys, successes and disappointments, in my life that have caused me to grow into and become the person that I am today.

Because of the circumstances of life in the past few years, I’ve heard it said of me:

“Ted is more understanding of people and more compassionate.”

“He’s less judgmental.”

I can agree with those statements as often there are things that we don’t fully comprehend the pain or the joy of unless we have been there ourselves.

I am more understanding.

I am more compassionate.

I am less judgemental.

I can identify with peoples brokenness.
I am more tolerant.

The thing is, this should be the case with all of us.  As we grow to become more like Christ, our lives and our attitudes should reflect that of Christ Jesus.

At the same time, as a result of what I have been through and what I have seen, there have been some other changes too.

I have little tolerance with manipulative, wishy washy, weak willed Christians that try to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

That may sound anything like what I have just previously said, but, hear me out.

I have become more loving and tougher at the same time.

I’ve become a stronger person and more decisive as a leader, knowing precisely what I want and what I want to achieve.

I have learned to rely on God when He is all I have and then at that moment, I have discovered that He’s all I need.

I have learned that tough times will either catapult you to God and to strength or you’ll go the other way displaying a victim mentality and weakness in your personality and character.

This type of weakness and victim mentality is always blame shifting!

It is always self focussed and ‘poor me’ in nature.
As a leader I have a low tolerance for bad attitudes, and the cavalier living of some so called Christians.

Jesus suffered and that’s putting it mildly in anyone’s estimations.

He was battered and bruised, He was beaten and bloodied, He was accused and taunted.

And for what?  For us.

And what was His response?

They led Him like a lamb to the slaughter…He was innocent and didn’t cry out for a pity party or pass the buck to anyone walking past.

He didn’t call out, “It wasn’t me!  It was Judas, he’s lying!”

He didn’t throw a tantrum.

He didn’t have a hissy fit.

He didn’t go around bad mouthing and slandering people and making up accusations.

No.

He went through it all and because of that He knows, He understands and He loves all the same.
I know what’s it’s like to be betrayed.
I know what it’s like to have people be disloyal to you.
I know what’s it’s like to be in deep depression and think suicidal thoughts.
I know the feeling of abandonment and what it’s like to be abandoned.
I know what emotional, physical and mental abuse feels like.
I know what’s it’s like to back slide and be spiritually empty.

I know what it’s like to be slandered and lied about.

I know what it’s like to be misjudged, misquoted, misinterpreted, perceived wrongly, and accused unjustly.

I know what loss is.
I know what it’s like to be emotionally, financially and physically bankrupt.
But, I know what repentance is!
I know what forgiveness is!
I now know God’s restorative power.
I now know His peace!

Love, forgiveness and acceptance.
These things are mine!

I know His grace!
I know how to pull myself out of the pits with God’s help.

I know how to lean on Jesus and how to keep my focus on Him.

I know how to depend on God – a strong fortress in times of trouble.

This is not me having a pity party or a poor me self expression time.

This is me, sharing with you, recognising how God has worked in and through my life and how He is causing me to be more like Him.

He didn’t stand for the Pharisees or the Sadducees of the day.

He didn’t take kindly to bad behaviour – but He did love and He did correct.

That’s what I’ve learned how to do better as a result of my experiences.
I think I now make a more understanding and capable pastor of people.
I’ve been there and can help others to come through their own life’s challenges.

I’ve not just come through, but I gained a life style of victory over self, sin and the world.

I have gained a stronger relationship with Jesus and learned that He is my source and my strength.

I have learned, and am continuing to learn, how to be content and how to trust in God with all that I have and all that I am.

Ted, Kristan and Harry EvansJeremiah 29:11

There are certain things I look at in people’s lives to encourage them.  Firstly we should acknowledge the good things that God has done.  Don’t dwell on the negative.  There’s too many of those!  See how God has been working in your life through people and circumstances.  Remember God is shaping and moulding us into His image.  The company you keep is important in shaping your mindsets.  If you don’t have a friend, be friendly the Bible says.

A selfish person will not acknowledge good in themselves or in others.  Everything is “whatever”.  The “whatever” culture and attitude is so prevalent in people today that it’s destroying hope for a future.

If you’re young, see your youth as being a blessing.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  If you are studying and others seem so far in front in their chosen career, remember this is a preparation time.  You are in a season of building your foundation.  Planning and studying is essential.  Remember, “You’ll have your day in the sun”.  Your time is coming so study to show yourself approved.

If you’re old and consider yourself a senior, thank God for the experiences, whether positive or negative.  The experiences you’ve had can help people as you offer yourself as support and encouragement.  Life’s journey is a gift to help others in giving people wisdom they desperately need.  This wisdom can be shared.  You can provide people with guide lines and instruction to assist them from making the same mistakes you made in life.  See everything as an opportunity for good.

There are so many ways we read our lives.  The perception of how we are going sometimes gets clouded and we need another viewpoint.  Maybe a close friend can bring home some positive truths about our lives.  Talk to a pastor with a sensitivity to your situation.

Pick yourself up and believe the simple truth that God is a good God and gives good gifts.  Trust Him with your future.  Never give up and remember God loves you and has you’re best interest at heart.

In my darkest hours I held onto what I knew was right.  My convictions and values made me stay the course.  Even though there were a few hick ups along the way, I kept going to church.  I lifted my hands in worship even though I didn’t feel a thing.  I prayed even though it felt like the heavens were like brass.  My attitude was taken from the scriptural principle that says “Put on the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness”, “Though the fig tree does not blossom, yet will I rejoice in the Lord”, “I will” rejoice in the Lord and AGAIN I will rejoice!”

Keeping the consistencies in life was so important to me in the hard times.  Don’t run from your circumstances.  Don’t look for the bottle, drugs or the easy way out.  Face the issues and slowly pull yourself out.  Get help!  Talk to someone and pray.  Step by step, one thing and one day at a time.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

In many lives decisions have been made without counsel and research is the last avenue most go down.  Most people have made their minds up.  God hasn’t been consulted.  Pastors’ advice is not sought after and when all is said and done the pastor somewhere along the road has to pick up the pieces.

It saddens me to see people struggle and in many cases have their destiny cut short. For some, isolation subtly becomes a reality and a way of life.  Often church attendance drops away and we forget…WE NEED EACH OTHER!  If we keep to the fellowship of the believers, consistent and continual, it will keep many from falling.

Be a giver not a taker.  Faith gives when reason would say to hold on to everything you can get.  The mindset “everybody owes me something” is wrong and very selfish thinking in its nature.  The church owes me; the school should be doing this and that, the pastor should be visiting me.  People that flounder in depression are people that stay in a place of “it’s all about me”!  I, ME instead of OTHERS, and WE!  When we put in and give, we live more fulfilled and enriched lives.

Help someone, serve in the church.  Give of your time and resource.  Live for God and others.  Bake a cake, write a card, send a gift, a word of life to a struggling person.  Fill yourself up, by pouring out.  David encouraged himself in the Lord.

Sometimes the very things that we are doing are the things that will ultimately destroy us and our family.  Our selfishness leads to unhappiness.  We pursue things, careers and life style.  No one wins and God is not glorified.  Giving people are loved people.  Giving people are happy people.  Giving people are satisfied.  Giving people don’t live for themselves.  God first!  We’ve got to do things God’s way to get God results.  The true and best pattern is God’s pattern – everything else ends up in disappointment.  Live for Jesus and the things of this world will grow strangely dim.

Don’t sit helplessly in “camp containment” put on your armour, pick up your weapons and boot Satan out of your life.  The measure of your containment is directly related to how Christlike or un-Christlike you are in your daily responses to the people, events, and circumstances of life.

Let Christ be your standard in a world as busy and involved as it is.  People are bored and empty because they have devoted themselves and their lives to things that ultimately lack meaning and purpose.  The only way to fulfil your destiny is to take the first step and then next step and the next … as God leads.

Ted EvansThe world is searching for happiness! People quit their secure jobs, leave their spouse and are constantly unsettled because of this search for so-called happiness.

I know of people who have spent the majority of their married life trying to please their partner, going along with every whim so as to see them content in what they desired.

I have seen husbands try to take leadership of the home to no avail because of a domineering wife pursuing her so called happiness (and vice versa).

I have seen couples break up and when asked why, the immediate answer was because, “I’m not Happy”, “I don’t love him anymore”, the latest phrase is, “He abused me.”

Well, who is happy anyway….all the time, I say?

Another question:

What is marriage?

Is it all about being happy?

Is that the criteria?

Is that the goal?

Is that why you married that person?

If all your ducks don’t line up does that mean all is lost?  Do you fantasise about someone else? Trade him/her in for a new model!  Maybe a rich millionaire will show me the world and give me the happiness I’m longing for!

After much soul searching and many deep personal experiences I have come to a very basic conclusion.  Life isn’t about being happy.  The bible talks about contentment, and joy.  Happiness is fleeting but joy is lasting.  To me it’s all about commitment and perseverance!  Overcoming obstacles together!

I believe so many worldly and demonic practises have been employed in Christendom.  We see so much ungodliness and it’s certainly not a spiritual thought pattern or process.  The bible doesn’t even come into play anymore, it seems.

Some people are so intelligent that they know absolutely nothing.  Ignorance is portrayed in their behaviour.  I’m sorry, you can tell me one thing but your action is telling me something else.  You can tell me you love God and put Him first but what you are doing each day says something completely different.  I guess the bible says it this way, “You judge them by their fruit.”  Time will tell, I say!

Let me write something to describe some wrong thinking.  Ultimately wrong thinking becomes wrong behaviour.  Wrong choices and heart breaking disappointments soon follow wrong behaviour.

Some calls it Relativism, meaning no absolute truth.  Rampant in the church of Jesus Christ!

Subjectivism

Rationalism

Post modernism, meaning there is no real truth

New age religion

Experimenting (The devil said to Eve…go on Eve, take it! Try it!

These and more describe what is going on in people’s lives, and in their thinking each day of the year.  Most times without them knowing these thought patterns are there, but the person doesn’t realize they are.

We have moved so far from biblical truth, the absolutes of the bible and then grapple with distorted truth and make excuses daily to explain ourselves away.

The truth is: Happiness comes out of being content.  The overflow or outcome of joy is a happy lifestyle and a person who is at peace with themselves, God and others. Joy=happiness.  Happiness is existential.  Joy is internal, from your spirit man.  Joy is a deep gratitude of the saving grace and forgiveness that Jesus gave through His death and resurrection.

I am filled with inner joy and peace because of my deep and real relationship with Jesus Christ.  This covers every sin committed past, present and future.  Sin will always have devastating effect on any human being, ultimately death, but because of His forgiveness I walk in complete joy, peace and happiness.

I reiterate happiness is not the goal.  Happiness is shallow.  Happiness can be a selfish pursuit never really being fulfilled.

Many people walk in hurt and bitterness which is the basis of selfishness.  Not getting what you want, maybe unmet expectations, leading to disappointment, hurt, offense and then bitterness.  The final result of uncontrolled bitterness is demon possession.

A self-indulgent, impure spirit has it basis in a self-indulgent life style.  Gimme!   Gimme!  Gimme!  Husbands are working excessive hours to provide the lifestyle and things that their wives are lusting for.  Only a few years after they have all the wants and desire they run off and take everything that has been worked for over many years leaving their partner desolate and confused to say the least.

Disloyally is rampant, some overt and some very subtle but it all stems from an independent spirit developed over many years.  This is the characteristic of an unhappy and ungodly person sometimes claiming righteousness but deep within the pages of their life is a chronic and devastating disorder.

Ungratefulness is in epidemic proportions to the point that people cannot keep up or fulfil their need for more and more.  The basis of ungratefulness is pride.  If you follow the path of pride in your life it will definitely lead to a basis of fear.

The bible says, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind.  Now, that sounds like, JOY.  That sounds like a happy person.  Love, power and a sound mind!  Content and fulfilled in every way!

When you walk the road of dishonesty and cultivate a poverty spirit, you can become extremely lazy and unproductive.

Self righteousness comes from a person who condemns themselves, beats themselves up but also condemns and judges others.  Constantly being critical of others!  This is not only a sad person but sadly a destroyed soul.  Outwardly they claim happiness but inwardly they are in turmoil, going from one purchase to another, one food group to another, one fashion store to another and in most cases relationships are severed.  One relationship to another, searching, looking, relentlessly pursuing…but to no avail!  Empty!  Wanting!

Don’t the words of Jesus mean much to us when He says “Take no thought of tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.”   In fact it implies that Jesus attends the funeral of every sparrow that falls to the ground.  “Don’t be anxious!” ”Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Isaiah says “Don’t eat food, drink and work for that which does not satisfy”.  I believe as we obey the word of God that says “To seek first the Kingdom of God” Everything we need will be provided which ensures us of joy, and happiness.

We are being changed from Glory to Glory!  Being transformed into His likeness!  It takes toughness, strength and fortitude to allow our character to be shaped and moulded into that beautiful and whole person that brings glory to God.  We are the clay, He is the potter!

Friends and horsesYour connections in life are incredibly important to your future, your emotional stability, the line that you travel between success and failure.  The relationships that you subscribe to can either build you up or pull you down.  They can encourage your growth in God or push you towards a mediocre, negative and a critical existence.  The relationships that you foster can tend to run your life!  Sometimes these people can influence you and even overtake healthy decisions.  Our priority should be to encourage each other to make Godly and Kingdom focus decisions.

We need to consider who we spend time with.  Ask yourself – What do you talk about when you get together?  What mindsets are infiltrating your family culture?  Are they God inspired and Christian in their nature?

I have heard a couple of sayings that I find interesting…Birds of a feather flock together! Like minds find other like minds.  This is a positive if the outcome is to love, build and strengthen but extremely harmful and destructive if it is of a critical nature.

The other quote I have heard over the years is “The lowest form of communication is talking about other people!” Why don’t we discuss Kingdom advancement anymore?  Why don’t we talk about reaching lost souls anymore?  Why don’t we discuss the state of our heart, or the love we have for God and our family?  Why don’t we build up the church and find the positives rather than pull the church down and have roast pastor over Sunday lunch.  Look for the good, look for the noble; look for heart intent rather than outcomes, whether good or not so good.

Gossip is a terrible thing.  It’s like a cancer that spreads and takes hold of people.  Biblically it is one of the 7 deadliest sins.  Dissension!  It’s divisive in character.  This is major in importance to me as a Christian wanting to pursue Christ likeness.  I love the passage that encourages us think on such things…what’s so ever thing are pure, lovely, of good report etc think on these things.  As the mind goes, the heart and mouth will follow.  Do not be deceived, the Apostle Paul says, bad company corrupts good character.

I find the start of a new year a great opportunity to make adjustments to our thought life, our speech and our actions.

Hurting people, hurt people! Whole people hunger for a whole and safe community where love abounds and grace is evident in all.

I believe this article will help someone in their Christian walk.  I believe it will shake someone into a fresh approach to their relationships.  Don’t pretend to be a Christian.  Don’t give lip service to your aspirations as a believer.  Don’t call yourself something that you’re not.  Don’t go to church and put on a show if you’re living differently with your speech and attitude during the week.  Many folk are in communication with people who are not in church, are very critical, not submitted, not under any kind of accountability, and are fruitless.  Unrepentant, prideful and arrogant are some words that come to mind in describing these people.  They refuse to seek forgiveness and restoration in any way.

Be careful to allow these people to continue to be a part of your circle of friends.  The word of God says… “Have nothing to do with them.”  They will harm you and your family.  These kinds of people will destroy themselves and their family, any job prospects and sometimes can take a hold of a congregation rendering it unproductive and sick.

On the other hand if they repent the future is amazing.  Productivity, fruitfulness and blessing can be the result.  Safe and healthy relationships and connections should be our pursuit and desire.

The atmosphere of your life is made up of a couple of things.  One very important ingredient is the type of people you spend time with.  Be inspired to search out Godly influences and if need be make the changes in your life as I do mine every day.

The second ingredient is your walk with God.  It’s impossible to have a deep relationship with God and tear down, criticize and speak against the church for which Jesus died.  The closer I get to God the more my life portrays a Christ likeness that is full and rich in Godly character, love, joy and peace, kindness, gentleness, meekness, self control, patience.

There is a place for having people in your life that you are called to reach out to and embrace so as to lead them to Jesus and a transformed life.  However, we should be the ones influencing others in a positive and encouraging manner – we should represent Jesus to everyone that we meet.

Look for the best in each other and keep your relationships healthy!  Remember always, how would you like to be thought of and treated?  Go and do likewise!

God Bless you on your journey!

Christmas Day Service

I recently heard and started thinking about tests that we go through.

In the Bible, we see men and women of the Old Testament who walked through many different trials and tests in their lives in order to fulfil their destiny in God.

There are tests that we will face in our lives and we need to be prepared and founded on the Word of God in order to not only pass the tests, but to be able to stand knowing we have been obedient and true to our Father.

Tests will come to each of us.

No matter how peaceful and how easy you think your life is, let me tell you, church, tests will come!

James 1:2-4 tells us that we should,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We need to remember that tests and temptations will both come our way, but they are different and have different purposes.

Tests are designed to grow us and to strengthen our character.

As James said, testing develops perseverance.

In our world today, we have a generation of people growing up that do not have the resilience that many of our forefathers had.

When you think about how the modern industrial world has been forged and built, you can see that resilience was absolutely necessary.

In the Old Testament, we read stories and see the effort and the perseverance that was required in order to succeed.

When you think about the construction of towns and cities, everything years ago was built and carved by hand and what we now consider primitive tools.

Farming, for example, nowadays is done using huge machinery.

Years ago, to harvest a field took hours of blood, sweat and tears.

Resilience and determination were absolutely necessary or there was no food on the table and no money in the wallet.

Tests create perseverance if we follow them through to the end without giving up.

This weekend, Kylie got into one of our bird cages where a spoggie had somehow managed to get in.

The spoggie made the other birds erratic and crazy Kylie’s mum said.

So, Kyls got in and for over ½ an hour, she tried to catch the little bird whilst not catch one of the other 8 birds in the aviary.

Her Mum told her after a while to give up and not worry about it.

Now, Kylie is stubborn and determined.

But she was also not going to give up and eventually, after what seemed like forever, she caught the little bird.

That’s perseverance!

  • · Temptation on the other hand, leads to sin.
  • · Temptation does not grow our faith.
  • · Temptation does not develop character.
  • · Temptation does not develop perseverance.

We cannot avoid temptation, but we can turn from it and not bow to it.

A test will draw us closer to God and make us rely on Him.

A temptation will make us walk from God because it leads to guilt and condemnation and we begin to rely on ourselves.

Because we are still growing in righteousness and becoming more like Christ, and we are susceptible to the dangers that testing brings if we are not in a constant relationship with God.

Testing can cause people to become disillusioned, distraught and distracted.

Testing can also cause people to become angry, bitter and hardened toward God and other people.

We need to stay close to God always.

We need to have constant fellowship and be in relationship with Him.

Testing is inevitable.  They are a bit like taxes – you can’t avoid them no matter how hard you try!

Testing is continual – we will be tested more than once.

Testing is necessary – it produces perseverance and dependence on God.

Testing is productive – it produces and shapes our character and develops our faith.

Testing is influential – it influences our beliefs, our thoughts, our actions and the people around us.

Our lives are a testimony as we live and walk through them.

Tests are crafted and allowed by God!

He uses them for our benefit and His glory.

Today, and over the coming days, see tests as ways to be victorious and as opportunities to glorify God.

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This week, I want to write about experiencing God’s love.

We know that the Bible talks a lot about what love is and the Apostle Paul details it very clearly in what is known as the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.  We know that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, His most precious Son, to die for us.   That’s the greatest expression of His love for us.

But, we’re not going to look there.

I want to take you deeper on a journey into your heart.

We talk a lot in the Christian world that our lives should not be based on feelings but on faith.

And, whilst that is true, there is a place for emotions.

God did create them after all and the Bible is filled with accounts of circumstances that affected His emotions and His responses to situations.

I want you to know that it’s alright, it’s ok, and you are allowed to be emotional.   You are allowed to be moved by God.  You are welcome to open your heart and allow the Creator of the universe to enter in and touch the very fibres of your being.

Our perceptions of God and our experiences in life are our measuring stick.

We judge God by what has happened to us and in the world around us.

Bette Midler wrote a song many years ago and said that from a distance, God is watching us.

That’s how many people feel!

You may feel that way, that God is just up in heaven on His throne watching you go about your life,

–          watching your suffering,

–          your sadness,

–          your sickness,

–          your loneliness,

–          your brokenness,

–          your hardness,

–          your success

–          your life go by as you do the motions

You may feel that God has no interest in you – you’re a speck on His radar.

He is, after all, God and we are minute, tiny, almost non-existent if you look at us in comparison to the universe at large.

You may feel that God is like an old style school head master with a big stick, ready and waiting to strike each time you do the wrong thing.

You may feel that you’re simply not good enough, you’re never going to be good enough and there’s no way God can really love you anyway.

You may feel that God is angry with you all the time because you keep making mistakes –you’ve broken the 10 commandments more times than you can recall.

You may feel that there’s no way, even though you keep trying and trying, that you’re just not good enough.

God can’t possibly love you because

– you’re not like the people on stage,

– you’re not like the people who teach Sunday School,

– you’re not like the people who walk around with their Bible under their arm,

– you don’t know your Bible like other people do

You might be someone who thinks that God only loves you when you do good things or when you keep His commands as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees did!

You might think that God will love you when you are good enough –

You know,

–          when you don’t get upset with the kids anymore,

–          when you don’t shout at your husband anymore

–          when you don’t speed through the school zones anymore

–          when you give money to street people

–          when you stop using those words that really don’t honour Him

–          when you only spend time with Christian people and never see a non-      Christian person

Your experiences in life, the way that you were brought up and the way that you were treated, have shaped how you feel about God.

The image of God as a loving Father can be horrific for some people – those who have had a bad experience or a non experience of a Father.

If your Father hurt you or members of your family, it’s no wonder you don’t understand what the love of a Father is really like – protective and just.

If your Father was absent and didn’t have time for you, you won’t understand that God’s heartbeat is for you –for time with you.

If your Father was abusive and demanding, you might feel that God expects the same as your earthly Father.

If your Father didn’t know how to share with you, to be affectionate and relational with you, you may not know that God is absolutely relational.

Our view and perception of God can range from seeing Him as a distant and angry God to a God whom nothing is ever good enough to a God who presents as a father who is not caring or even approachable.

I want to show you today that God is so much more than any of these perceptions.

God is LOVE!

It’s not what God does for us or to us, but that it is WHO HE IS!!!

Above all else, God loves you.

If you have never experienced the love of God in a personal, heart stopping way, I pray that as you read this, you will.

We all have a different understanding of God as a result of the journey that we are each on.

I want to encourage you that no matter where you are in your walk, God’s love is not absent or far from you!

God desires that you would know, that you would feel, that you would experience the fullness of His love.

Ephesians 3:14-19 in the Amplified translation says:

For this reason, seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name.

May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality.

May Christ through your faith actually dwell, settle down, abide, make His permanent home in your hearts!

May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints, God’s devoted people, the experience of that love what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it;

That you may really come to know, practically, through experience for yourselves the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!

Now to Him Who, by consequence of the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams–

To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

The love that God wants us to experience is a life changing love.

A love that is almost to much to grapple with and to comprehend.

A love that has no end to how far it will go, either in time, in distance or in effort.

God’s desire for us to experience His love is not just as a one off experience – He wants us to be rooted in His love.

He wants us to know His love so intimately, so deeply, so closely that we never have to question His love.

His love for us is never ending!

God’s love for us is real.

His love is as real as the life we live and the air that we breathe.

We need a life changing experience of God’s love – an experience that disturbs, if you like, the very core of our being.

God desires for us to have an experience that brings us to our knees and removes all of the hardness, all of the fears, all of the things that bind us up and keep us from opening our heart.

When you have been hurt, whether as a child, a teen or as an adult, you are probably more reluctant to trust people.

We are often even more reluctant to trust God.

Many people know the story of how I came to be pastoring and living in Whyalla.

I was a broken man.

I had lost everything and was desperately relying on God for everything.

I remember day after day just crying out to God and asking Him to fill my heart – my heart that had been so broken.

I knew that God loved me and that He was a good God and He gives good gifts to His children.

I knew and I’d preached it and counselled it all my life.

But, I was now living in that reality of having to totally rely on God to restore my heart and potentially give me a new life partner – somewhere, sometime, somehow.

I had no idea that moving to Whyalla for 6 months was going to change the whole course and shape of my life.

Kylie and I hit it off and we began a relationship very soon after I arrived.

Immediately, I began to feel and realise God’s love for me, through Kylie.

All the things that I had craved my whole life were suddenly being realised.

Little things and big things.

Things that I didn’t even know that I needed or wanted, or that I thought were too great to even think to ask or desire of God were beginning to happen.

God knew what I needed in a wife.

He knew I needed more than just a bride.

He knew that I needed a soul mate – someone who would love me with the kind of love that God describes

–          total

–          unconditional

–          full

–          sacrificial

–          selfless

–          trusting

God knew that my heart needed to be held very gently by someone with strong hands.

I knew that God loved me, but all of a sudden I was personally and practically experiencing His love.

His very great, deep and unending love.

God doesn’t always use people to express His love.

Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t.

Sometimes He speaks directly to us, to our heart.

Sometimes He uses His words – the Bible to reveal it to us.

Sometimes He uses experiences that we go through to show us His great and powerful love.

The Apostle Paul said that nothing in life can take God’s love from us and nothing can take us from God’s love because of the sacrifice that Jesus made.

Romans 8:38-39

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

God’s love is such that He is so moved by us, His children that He will stop at nothing to show us and to make sure that we understand fully how deep, how pure and how real His love is.

God’s love is AGAPE love.

I’m sure that we’ve possibly all heard that word before and the scripture that usually accompanies it that because God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us.

That’s true!  But it’s more than that!

Agape love, God’s love, is activated when He see, recognises, understands or appreciates the value of us, causing Him to behold us in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder and sincere appreciation.

Agape love is so great that it is irresistible for the giver not to love.

Agape love, when received, is emotional.

It does require an emotion response from us.

It requires, in fact, it causes us, to be moved.

Receiving God’s love is not like when you are moved by compassion to do something, but rather it is when you are moved to be able to receive from God.   You are able to receive without restriction, without restraint, or without reservation and without hesitation.

You are able to surrender to the immense love that God wants to lavish upon you.

Agape love, God’s love, is so great and loves so profoundly that it knows no limitations or boundaries in how far, how wide, and how deep it will go to show us His love.

God’s love drives Him to action.

He wants and desires you to know and experience so that you might be made whole and complete, and that you might know the fullness of His love.

Life still happens and being loved by God doesn’t change the fact that sometimes things don’t go or happen as we would like or as we plan.

However, God desires that we would know His great love that we might be able to walk full in His love through every circumstance.

He wants us to be fully rooted and intensely established in Him and His love.

He wants you to feel and know His love.

His love that is greater than any love that will ever come your way.

Greater than the love of any person – mother, father, child, husband or wife.

God’s love is for you to feel, for you to experience, for you to know above and beyond anything else.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

GOD LOVES YOU.

P9130215Jesus is building HIS church!

Over the years of my time in ministry, I’ve come to realize a few things about people and church life, Christianity and the world. These are a few observations I’d like to share with those who are willing to read and maybe take on a new way of approaching life and ministry.

1.) Don’t stress or worry especially if you cannot control the situation. Give it to God. Sleep on it. Time is a healer. 12 hours makes a huge difference and it gives an opportunity for God to move. People panic and I put myself in that category in the past, but what for? Why do it? Why allow yourself to go through all that pain? Isn’t life itself a gift? Look for the good in little! I find most people operate their lives on rational, most times making choices out of an irrational and an emotional mind set.

2.) People will do what people will do! As a pastor you can preach till the cows come home or till you’re blue in the face, but in most cases nothing changes except for a Holy Spirit encounter or revelation. Crisis does not even guarantee change in people’s lives. Counselling doesn’t change people unless they choose to change and adhere to the advice given.

3.) Church attendance! A pastor can visit his flock and can encourage them to be in church, but even then I have found that people will do, what people will do. Sunday morning comes and depending on how they are feeling at the time, a decision is made not to go or to go! Values are not considered anymore and children will be the recipients of our values, or lack of values, as parents. Incomplete obedience will be the next generation’s disobedience. On any given Sunday a third of your congregation may be away. People come into church and go! Should I say people grow or people go! Anything can set people off from a misperception to a pastor not shaking their hand at the door. It’s time for the church to grow up and develop some backbone! Maturity must be a priority! Paul said meat, not milk!

4.) We want the church to provide this program and that program but do nothing about it ourselves. Instead of getting motivated and involved with church life people get involved the clubs and activities the world offers. Where is the desire to come together to worship and have fellowship? Where are Kingdom values instilled? It must come from firstly the family then the church. You’ve got to get your family there if those values are to be taught to your children.

5.) Some times as a pastor you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I have come to the conclusion that you can’t please everyone! Pleasing God should be our aim.

Through many years of ministry, watching and relating to people I have come to the realization that “Unless God builds the House we labour in vain”.  The scripture is so true!   You can have all the bells and whistles, good preaching, beautiful worship, a coffee shop experience after and before church but some will come and some will stay at home. The sleeping giant needs a shaking. An awakening! A revival! You can have the best programs in the world but people are led by their feelings. Sadly they feel their way out and think their way out of their destiny! There is a permissive will but people should desire and seek after the perfect will of God! The permissive will tends to be average and mediocre. God has so much instore yet we are happy with the status quo and just getting through. Too many people are just making it and call themselves survivors rather than living in the best God has got to offer.

Some final thoughts.

Be faithful to what God has called you to do! Make every post a winner! Look for the best in people. Be an encourager! Remember to see the glass half full and make a way to help fill it right up! God is on the throne. He hasn’t stepped off and He’s not having a sleep. He is intently interested in you and is constantly reaching out to us. Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your might! Let God be God and “Seek 1st the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you”.

September2009 002Every day is a better day…with Jesus!

No matter where I’ve been in my life, or what has happened, I have always known that Jesus is by my side.

That knowledge itself has often been the one thing, the only thing, that has enabled me to continue.

The loving kindness of Jesus is our saving grace in all of our lives.

Though we walk through the flood waters, He is with us.

Though we walk through the fire, He is with us.

Though the storm comes and the rains fall, He is with us.

Your world may have crumbled around you or it may be beginning to crack and crumble at the seams, remember that Jesus has not left you nor is He unaware of what is happening in your life.

Every day is a better day!

Each day brings with it the promise of newness.

A new dawn.  A new noon.  A new evening.

New mercy.  New hope.  New beginnings.

Though each day has the potential of trouble and sorrow, the way that we approach it will determine not so much the outcome, for often circumstances are beyond our control, but the development of our character and our growth in Jesus.

Our relationship with Him has to be our foundation, if not, when the storms of life do come along, we will crumble like the walls of Jericho.

We can say, “Every Day Is A Better Day” because we know that no matter what happens, with Jesus things can be difficult but there is always the promise of hope and love at the other side of the trouble.

Without Jesus, however, there is no assurance – either here or in eternity.

I know that regardless of any of the struggles and heartaches I’ve endured and had thrown at me I’d rather say that every day is a better day because of Jesus than think about the alternative.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

I am more than a conqueror.

Every day is a better day with Jesus!

Today, remember that no matter what you go through, whatever is presented to you, however you are attacked, no matter the circumstances, Jesus is sure and solid.  He will never leave you and He will complete the good works that He has begun.

Jesus came to give LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL!!!

It is a state of mind.

It is believing regardless of how the circumstances look.

Call into existence those things which are not as though they were – claim your days!

Make each post a winner!

Every day is a better day!

AMEN!

PC150032What do you do when you feel that life has all but passed you by and that all your hopes and dreams seem to have been both stolen or denied based on other peoples choices?

You keep the faith.  You look to the One who called you by name and knows your future and your every tear.  You remind yourself that there is a better day coming even though the storm clouds look darker than the night sky.  You call to mind the promises that God has given – both in His Word and in your personal walk with Him.

It’s no secret that the biggest tragedy of my life occurred just a few short years ago.  My life was suddenly turned upside down and tragically almost everything that I thought was solid in my life, everything that I held dear was ripped out from under me.  Opinions were created and manipulated by people who had a San Ballat spirit. 

I was at a place in my life where I thought that I would never again see the blessings of God in a way that I had seen and had imagined. 

After the move from my previous church, I worked in the fashion industry for some time all the while knowing that God had called me and anointed me for the ministry.  I was, all of a sudden, in a place that meant I had to put into practice many of the lessons and principles that I had preached over many years.  I had to determine in my heart if I was going to trust God with all that I had left and be totally surrendered to Him and His mercy or if I was going to be like so many others and just call the shots myself. 

I chose to do the former.  I chose to put myself into the hands of my loving Heavenly Father and I chose to believe that as I stepped out in faith He would not only pave the way for me, but that He would provide all that He had promised. 

In my willingness to simply serve God and do whatever my hands found to do, I was offered a job driving a truck of thoroughbred horses across the country.  For a man who loves horses, this seemed like a great opportunity.  That was until I had my lessons!  In spite of all my efforts, it became obvious that truck driving was not going to be for me. 

It was during this time that I received a call from the Executive of the South Australian AOG.  They invited me to take on a 6 month interim position at a church in Whyalla (where is Whyalla? I thought!).  In my spirit I felt God quietly, yet distinctly, say to me, “Ted, I wanted to see if you would be willing even to drive trucks for me”.  What an incredibly humbling and exciting revelation.

I found that Whyalla was not only 4 hours from Adelaide but that it was also classed as a desert space!  I was moving from the lush Brisbane lifestyle with my family to the dusty country outback where I knew not a soul.  What on earth was I doing and more to the point, what on earth was God doing?

I moved to Whyalla and my Dad joined me for the first few weeks (I needed someone to talk to!).  Within a few days I was overwhelmed with the realisation of the decision and the move that I had made.  I had not only left a beautiful place, but I had left all that I knew, all who had supported me and encouraged and loved me through my darkest hours.  I had also left behind my most treasured possessions – my boys, Kristan and Harry. 

This affected me dramatically, but my strength, as always, was found in God.  I spent many hours walking and praying and crying out to God, seeking His purpose for bringing me to this seemingly deserted and isolated place.  Very soon I was to discover that God indeed had a plan so much greater and sweeter than I could have ever imagined. 

I had met Kylie when I first arrived in Whyalla – she had set up the house that I was to live in and was partly responsible for bringing me to Whyalla as she was on the church Board.  After a few weeks of watching and listening, I asked her out for coffee.  She went on school camp and we spent the three days texting and getting to know each other.

When she returned, we did go out for coffee.  I told her all of the reasons as to why she should not be interested in me and laid out very clearly all the reasons why we should not pursue a friendship.  I was divorced.  I had 2 children.  I was bald.  I was 42.  I was a minister.  To each thing that I listed, she calmly smiled and told me that none of it was going to sway her from what God had spoken to her heart – I was the man that she had waited for – “the man that God would bring through the doors of a church”.

I was supposed to be in Whyalla for 6 months.  4 weeks into this, Kylie and I were developing a deep friendship and a growing respect.  I had not only fallen in love with Whyalla and the people, but I had fallen in love with a short, brown haired girl with a big smile and a huge love for Jesus. 

I had a miracle from God.  A bitter sweet miracle.  Bitter in that I missed my boys (and still do) terribly.  Sweet in that I had found a woman of character and strength who believes that her purpose is to love me – my soul mate.  That, knowing what I’ve been though, is a miracle of great magnitude.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

It’s not easy, but it is real and it is true.  God knows.  God cares.  God is faithful.